Chamber Music III

Sunday, April 2, 2017 • 6:00 p.m.
Woodhouse Wine Estates (15500 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville)

This concert is sold out.


Gustav Holst (1874–1934)
“Bring Us In Good Ale,” Op. 34, No. 4

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
“Waldesnacht,” Op. 62, No. 3

Gustav Holst
“I Love My Love,” Op. 36b, No. 5

Leonard Bernstein (1918–1980)/arr. Robert Edgerton
“Somewhere” from West Side Story

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)
“The Dark-eyed Sailor”

Michael Austin Miller (*1974)
“Ah! Sun-flower””

Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706)
“Nun danket alle Gott,” P. 381

Traditional/arr. James Erb

Claude Le Jeune (ca. 1530–1600)
“Revecy venir du Printans”

Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)
String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)


Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
From Holberg’s Time (Suite in the Olden Style), Op. 40

About the Concert

Members of the Seattle Chamber Singers, under the direction of Michael Austin Miller, perform a selection of a cappella choral works. Violinists Susan Beals and Stephen Hegg, violist Deborah Daoust and cellist Katie Sauter Messick play Dvořák’s “American” quartet, composed during his three-year residence in the United States. The program concludes with a performance of Grieg’s by members of Orchestra Seattle’s string section.

Ticket price ($25) includes one glass of Woodhouse wine. Only 60 seats available (purchase advance tickets); fewer than five tickets remain!


About the Guest Conductor

Guest conductor Michael Austin Miller, originally from Charleston, South Carolina, now resides in Snohomish, where he serves as director of music ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church. He holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees in choral conducting and has held choral and instrumental teaching positions from elementary to university level. Currently he is in his seventh year as conductor of the Bainbridge Chorale, where he is preparing the ensemble for a performance of Carl Orff’s Camina Burana.

In 2015, after he completed his sixth year as a music professor at Trinity Lutheran College, where he taught a variety of courses and directed the Concert Choir, the college began closing its doors. Since then, Michael has pursued his interests in composing and arranging music as well as writing humorous short stories. He enjoys serving as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator for school, church and honor choirs.

Program Notes

In 1913, English composer Gustav Holst encountered the village of Thaxted on a walking tour of Essex, where he befriended the vicar Conrad Noel, with whom he later organized a Whitsun festival. After completing work on The Planets in 1916, Holst created a choral setting of “Bring Us In Good Ale,” dedicated to Noel and published in 1919 as part of Four Carols, Op 34.

Johannes Brahms premiered “Waldesnacht” (a setting of a Paul Heyse poem and published as part of Sieben Lieder für gemischten Chor, Op.62) on November 8, 1874, with the Singverein at Vienna’s Musikverein, where the audience “applauded to the echo”; it became one of his most admired choral works.

Holst composed “I Love My Love,” a setting of a folksong collected by G.B. Gardiner, in 1916 for a friend’s Newcastle choir, publishing it as part of his Six Choral Folksongs, Op. 36b. Leonard Bernstein’s music for the 1957 Broadway classic West Side Story surely needs no introduction; this arrangement of “Somewhere” comes from Robert Edgerton, a mentor of Michael Austin Miller, tonight’s guest conductor.

Ralph Vaughan Williams , a passionate folksong collector, first heard “The Dark-eyed Sailor” on December 4, 1903, as sung by a Mrs. Horsnell and her daughter. He set the tune for chorus as part of his Five English Folksongs of 1912. Michael Austin Miller composed “Ah! Sun-flower,” setting poetry of William Blake, in 2013 for the Charlotte Chorale, which premiered the work on June 14, 2014.

In addition to his ubiquitous Canon, Johann Pachelbel composed more than 500 works, including the motet “Nun danket alle Gott,” dating from 1705. James Erb created his classic arrangement of “Shenandoah” for a 1971 European tour by the University of Richmond Choir, which he directed for 40 years. The closing selection by Franco-Flemish late-Renaissance composer Claude Le Jeune comes from Le Printemps, a cycle of 39 five-voice chansons.

Antonín Dvořák
String Quartet in F major, Op. 96

Dvořák was born September 8, 1841, in the Bohemian town of Nelahozeves (near Prague, now in the Czech Republic), and died on May 1, 1904, in Prague. Composed June 8–25, 1893, this quartet had its premiere in Boston on January 1, 1894.

In 1891, American philanthropist Jeanette Thurber approached Dvořák with an offer to become director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York — at 25 times his current salary. The Czech composer arrived in America at the beginning of the 1892–1893 academic year, during which time he composed his “New World” Symphony.

For the summer of 1893, Dvořák vacationed among a colony of Czech immigrants in Spillville, Iowa, where he composed two remarkable chamber works: the Op. 96 string quartet and the Op. 97 string quintet. While both are often given the subtitle “American,” musicologists disagree about the extent to which Dvořák’s exposure to Native American music (or approximations thereof provided by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in New York and the Kickapoo Medicine Show in Spillville) influenced them.

The Kneisel Quartet, who had premiered the quartet in Boston, brought both works to Carnegie Hall on January 13, 1894. A New York Times review described the quartet as “simple, unaffected, elementary music … fresh and melodious in subject matter, as clear in form, as spontaneous in development, and as flexible in part-writing as the best works of” Haydn and Mozart.

Edvard Grieg
From Holberg’s Time, Op. 40

Grieg was born June 15, 1843, in Bergen, Norway, where he died on September 4, 1907. He composed this work for piano in 1884, orchestrating it the following year.

Born in Bergen, playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684– 1754), “the Nordic Molière,” spent most of his life in Copenhagen (during the Norwegian–Danish dual monarchy). For the Holberg bicentenary in December 1884, an organizing committee commissioned Norway’s pre-eminent composer (and Bergen native) Edvard Grieg to write two works: a cantata for four-part male chorus and a piano suite. Grieg found the cantata “boring,” but the suite has become one of his best-known compositions, especially in the string-orchestra incarnation he premiered the following March.

Frå Holbergs Tid (“From Holberg’s Time”) is a “suite in the olden style,” using forms of the French Baroque dance suite familiar to Bach and Handel (both born a year after Holberg). The critic Eduard Hanslick called it a “refined, happily conceived work,” in which the “antique is cleverly reproduced in the forms, rhythms [and] ornamentations of the past, yet filled with modern spirit.”

— Jeff Eldridge